Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you.
November 27, 2008 12:22 AM   Subscribe

[How] Should I tell my parents, now I'm a healthy adult, about my longstanding depression?

I have probably been depressed since I was a preteen. I mostly hid it, passed everything off as 'teenage moods', got sent to a counsellor after a half-hearted suicide attempt and got better at acting ok. I'm now 23, and I've been on medication for about a year, since being diagnosed by my GP with major depression, and I think I am doing well now. For the first time in years, I haven't been cutting or thinking about suicide, I feel happy. But I've never told anyone I know that I have been depressed, or am being treated for it. I have been out of home and independant (in another state) for about six years, and I'm pretty sure my parents have no idea - they were worried about me as a teen, but I think I seemed to grow out of it. (To clarify: they were good parents, I was just better at hiding everything).

I feel like they probably would want to know. I have arranged to have an operation while visiting them soon (so I can stay with them and be looked after while recuperating), and my mother was filling in admissions forms for me, and asked if I'm on any medication. I lied and said no. I think I should be able to tell them, but I hate the idea of making them feel like they did something wrong while I was a kid, or that they need to worry about me, especially as I am about to move away internationally for a new job.

Does anyone have experience with this from either side? How can I approach it? Would they really want to know? How about other people I know, friends and siblings and potential significant others? How likely is it that they've basically figured it out anyway, from noticing the decorative scars down my inner arms?
posted by the agents of KAOS to Human Relations (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have experienced major depression, the worst of it from my preteens until my late twenties. No cutting, but strong suicidal ideation at times.

I would be as open as you feel ready to be. I really think that keeping it from your parents has no particular value, and that continuing to hide it amplifies your inner sense of the stigma. It's time to be more open about your feelings, to yourself and your intimates.
posted by dhartung at 12:25 AM on November 27, 2008

There's nothing for you to be ashamed of. Why would there be a problem telling them?

Yes, you should tell your parents and siblings. As to other people, well... experience is that though people say they want to help, most of them don't, and generally people that you tell will be sympathetic and supportive in the short term, but will gradually distance themselves in the longer period. Not all, of course, but far more often than not.

A significant other needs to know eventually, but it's not a first-date conversation, unless you don't want a second date.
posted by Class Goat at 12:27 AM on November 27, 2008

I think sometimes they knew all along, so it would help to be open about it. If you can tell them how it's difficult for you because you don't want to make them think they did something wrong, they might understand you better.

That said, it might just be so that you do think they had something to do with your depression. I guess it would be unwise to leave that bit out. So if that's the case, expect some repercussions of your openness.

Maybe you can start by telling the most empathic of the two?

Good luck!

posted by hz37 at 1:09 AM on November 27, 2008

The demon likes it when you let it out. That makes it more real. Don't let it talk for you, don't create a coming out event for it. Keep doing what you have been doing, maybe you will tell them next year, maybe five years from now. Find a friend who has been there, that helps a lot, but until you have more years of being okay under your belt don't bother with the 'norms'. They won't understand. You don't want to see your parents' faces as they comprehend that you have tried to kill yourself, no matter how half-hearted an attempt you say it was. You don't want to see your friends contemplating if it's the Right Thing for them to help you get thrown into a nuthouse. The most likely result is that you will feel more alienated and the demon will laugh at you.

This is just the corny way I decided to try to understand my self-destructive behavior. There have been many times when I felt like I needed to talk about it with someone because it was tearing a hole in me, but when I resisted I was always glad later. But then, I couldn't avoid going through the stage where everyone found out. I can't really know what will work for you.

Though I think you need to tell the doctors about the medication before the surgery.
posted by fleacircus at 1:41 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

I told my parents about my long struggle with depression because I'd finally decided to get help, and I needed their insurance to pay for it. That's how I found out that we have a rich family history of depression and mental illness, and my mother and aunt were both on anti-depressants at that time. I had no idea.

Despite the fact that there was an obvious genetic component to my depression, both of my parents had a hard time and felt very guilty, I think. It didn't help that we had a fairly distant relationship at the time all of this came to light. Now, my parents and I are very, very close, and I think it's largely because I included them somewhat in what I was going through in my early twenties.

Your parents absolutely want to know this about you, I guarantee it. I also strongly suspect you will feel an extraordinary sense of relief if you do tell them.

I have opened up to a very few close friends, and every last one of them already knew.
posted by adiabat at 1:53 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, when I was depressed and suicidal and self-harming, I didn't tell my parents. I did, however, tell my older brother. Despite promising faithfully that he wouldn't, he soon took it upon himself to tell our parents. This meant that when I was in a very rocky place myself, I had to deal with hysterical parents over the phone and all the "but why didn't you tell us? What did we do wrong? I feel I've failed as a mother" crap.

Tell them, even if it is merely so that it's on your terms, rather than you having to deal with the fallout if they find out through other means.
posted by badmoonrising at 2:02 AM on November 27, 2008

Every single time I've told someone about my depression, I've regretted it eventually. People get that shocked look in their eyes, and then back away (sometimes literally) as though they're going to catch something. The only person who didn't was my boss at work, whose own mother was manic depressive.

Are your parents generally understanding and sympathetic people? Are they equipped with the necessary skills to handle this?

Believe me, you do not want the drama that will ensue if they can't handle it, especially while recovering from an operation.
posted by Solomon at 2:14 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm with Solomon on this one. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't tell my parents. The fall out was horrendous and not something I ever wish to experience in my life again. And I have exceptionally understanding parents. There shouldn't be a stigma surrounding depression, you should be able to tell the world about it if you want to, you should ultimately do whatever feels right and necessary for you - but I would advise you to weigh this decision very, very carefully.
posted by meerkatty at 2:22 AM on November 27, 2008

Now that you're a healthy adult, you're entitled to privacy about your psychological and medical history. Not everything has to be shared in order for intimacy to exist-everybody has a right to not share some things. The other thing is, it would likely cause them pain, but not really make you any closer than saying something generic about 'having some tough times growing up', if anything at all.

It's always so weird to comment on other people's relationships though--maybe your family is a 'share everything' kind of family, so none of this applies to you. For myself, though, I found it extremely liberating to realize I was under no obligation to share everything. I'm not saying there's not appropriate or useful times for self revelation, or that self-disclosure isn't a deep part of intimacy, only that it's not mandatory.

Oh, and you probably don't want Mom filling out your medical forms anymore.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:52 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

My brother had severe depression before he died. My mother (who studied medicine but not practiced for the last 30 years) rationalised it by reflecting that other bodily organs can get ill, why not the brain? That was a helpful mindset as it deflected feelings of guilt, emphasised the importance of treatment, and gave her a curiousity to read up on the subject, discovering in the process how widespread it is, accounts of sufferers and the people affected, etc. It helped her. My father had a greater tendency to brood on what he could've done differently, and is still struggling to come to terms with it.

Oh, as for telling my parents: that wasn't an issue in this case. My brother wasn't very good at hiding it.
posted by snarfois at 3:05 AM on November 27, 2008

I know very well how you feel. I had severe depression as a teen / young adult ("had" - who am I kidding, I can still feel that black, cozy velvet creeping up on my emotional landscape occasionally) and never told anybody. Now at 33 my mother still likes to mention my "satanic" tendencies ("I still believe you were in a kind of sect and took drugs, didn't you?") just because I liked goth and shut myself off emotionally.
At those times I really want to grab her shoulders and start screaming "Are you fucking stupid? You kid wore black only and walked around with a blank, emotionless stare for years, what the hell did you think was going on??"

But then I remember that for her generation a condition like "depression" doesn't really exist. Even worse - with the years I understood she probably suffered from it as well, hiding it from everyone else and most of all from herself. Acknowledging my condition would probably mean facing her own ghosts.
With my father I never spoke about my feelings, and never will. Different story.

In conclusion: I'm with Solomon too. Unless you're absolutely sure they will understand what "depression" means (and how could anyone not suffering from it) and will react very understanding, don't tell them. Even if you believe they might understand, that specific situation (recovering from an operation) is probably not the best time, nor is any other relatively stressful situation like "christmas with your family". Maybe you can some day try steering the discussion in that direction and see how your parents react, maybe talk about some "friend of friend with depression". If they react with "Depression, nonsense.. He needs to snap out of it!" you have your answer.
posted by Nightwind at 3:16 AM on November 27, 2008

My sister has borderline personality disorder (which is different than depression, of course) and I like to know what's going on with her. My parents were very involved in her care when she was a teenager who self-injured and attempted suicide repeatedly, and were always very understanding. However, my dad's a psychologist and my mom's a nurse, so that's to be expected. But I'm not a health professional, and I like to know how she's doing.

I suppose you should tell them if you're less comfortable with keeping a secret than you are with them knowing. Like others said, you're under no obligation to tell them anything. It all depends what you're comfortable with.
posted by christinetheslp at 3:52 AM on November 27, 2008

my mother was filling in admissions forms for me, and asked if I'm on any medication. I lied and said no.

This is a potentially big deal. The reason they need to know what medications you're taking is to prevent dangerous interactions should they give you *new* medication. If you're having surgery, you really need to find a way to update your doctor, if not your parents, about this.

Also, your parents will need to know about your medication while you recoup, to make sure that you're taking it correctly as you may need to take it at different times from your painkillers.

It's really your choice whether you tell your parents *when* the depression began, but clearly for your health you need to tell them about your meds, which will obviously lead to a discussion about what you're taking them for. All other things being equal, you would never have to tell them if you didn't want, but in a situation where you're having surgery and asking for their help (going so far as to have your mom filling out forms), you need to put it out there that you take medication on a regular basis.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:55 AM on November 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

I don't have the experience to comment on telling your parents, but you absolutely must tell your doctors. grapefruitmoon is entirely correct in saying that your doctors need to know, to avoid potentially dangerous interactions between your current medication and anything new they give you.

Best of luck with this, whichever path you choose.
posted by metaBugs at 5:20 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm in the opposite camp from Solomon. I've told a good number of friends about the depression, but I've avoided leaning on anyone for too much at any one time. (Well, except for one friend and we're back to talking again, but we'll never be as close as we were- don't do that.) Then again, my friends are already used to me being flaky- I have ADHD and am much more open about that than the depression, and some how I tend to find myself surrounded by supportive people. I'm lucky that way. Also, my depression tends not to manifest itself in any physically self-destructive means. I'll be curled up in bed in a ball for days at a time, but I've never cut myself or anything, so your situation could be very different.

Significant others will have to know. When is up to you. But they're going to see the medicine eventually and they'll probably know how to use google.

As for your parents, it's up to you. But you can't lie on those intake forms, that can be dangerous. Fill them out yourself if you need to. I guess the questions is- will it make your interaction with your parents better or worse if you tell them about it and tell them now? I don't know what their mindset is- mine were used to me having ADHD by the time I was diagnosed with depression, so they didn't view it as a failure on their part. If you do tell them, emphasize the brain chemical part of it, and yeah, I'd probably lie a little bit about for how long it's been ongoing. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
posted by Hactar at 5:28 AM on November 27, 2008

Grapefruitmoon hit that particular detail on the head. You could be talking about complications with anesthesia. And, well ... complications with anesthesia look bad. You need to call your doctor, call people who have handled the paperwork, get the name of the anesthesiologist and call him or her. You want to hear the sound of a pen scratching away on paper as you detail what you are on to the nice person who will be managing some of your involuntary functions and vital signs for a few hours. There's all kinds of things you can hide from all kinds of people, but hiding chemicals which are designed to alter the way your brain functions from someone who will also be altering the way your brain controls your body ... yeah, bad.

As to telling your parents, just a few points to consider:

Aside from a potential genetic predisposition, did your parents have anything negative to contribute that may have led to greater depression, or triggering it? Even if the answer is no ...

Will your parents take it as an indictment of their parenting skills? Mental health issues, for a large segment of the older generations, instantly translates to "weren't raised right!" And they're the ones who raised you. Even if the answer is no ...

Will this lead to denial, denial, denial — "You're not depressed, you're just ... creative and moody." Even if the answer is no ...

Will telling them lead to some kind of greater rapport or communication between you and your parents?

Unless your parents are saints, this just isn't the sort of thing parents handle well. Use those questions I asked to determine if telling them will do anyone a lick of good. That's not to say you should feel bottled up with your burning secret, just that you should be aware of how parents tend to deal with these things.
posted by adipocere at 5:34 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

I would go with, "Hey Mom and Dad. I've been diagnosed with biological depression. Apparently about 1 in 16 people suffer from it and I got a crap roll of the dice. Fortunately there are about thirty different ways to manage the condition and I've got a handle on it. In the meantime I need to know the family history around this stuff. Is there anyone else in the family tree who suffered from this kind of stuff?". (note: unless they're in complete denial the answer is always yes. There's always a moody uncle somewhere)

And for god's sake knock off this shameful secret crap. Your body doesn't function 100% the way you would like. BFD.

I've been open and honest with everyone close to me, and the worst I've had to deal with is the occasional "are you off your meds?", which is more than made up for the by the number of times I've said "They really do make some lovely anti-depressants these days. Perhaps you should try some."

It's certainly not something I trumpet to strangers, but I don't particularly hide it from them either. Tell your loved ones and get on with your life.
posted by tkolar at 7:07 AM on November 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

Telling them may help. It's unlikely to be easy in the short term, though. Even parents who really do understand mental illnesses are likely to find it hard to readjust their understanding of their child (and the past 5-10 years); they'll probably also find it hard that there's not much that they can do. Certainly, when I told mine, it took them a while to figure out how to respond. I am, however, very glad that I did. Not only can I actually be honest to them about what's going on in my life, but they can help me and be supportive of me when the depression's hitting hard. The same has generally gone for friends.

People keep mentioning that "older generations" will assume mental illness means they didn't raise their child right. I'm not really sure that's the case. Mental illness was less common, yes, and there was more of a stigma, but many of them have also seen untreated anxiety and depression cause problems for them or their families. Certainly, this is the case in my family (my parents are probably somewhat older than yours), where there's a clear pattern of depressive/anxiety disorders on my mother's side of the family, and where some of them are starting to get treated these days. The analogy between brains and other organs - "if my other organs can get ill, why not my brain?" - is often a helpful one for people who know less about mental illness or who tend to think if it as somehow different from other illnesses.

If you have a close relationship with your parents, an understanding of your struggles with depression might make it easier for them to help and support you when you are doing badly. This has been really important for me, at times. Hactar mentions above the danger of leaning on any one friend - no matter how close - for support, and the unhappy aftermath is something I've experienced personally; my parents will always be there, however. This can be especially important when you're moving abroad, as you will be doing. The first few months can be very tough and isolating (I just went through this last fall myself), and being able to depend on family as well as friends for long-distance support can mean a great deal.

In the end, of course, only you can decide if you think your parents might be able to get past the stigma of mental illness and be supportive of you. However. It is not a bad idea to choose your timing. Telling your parents in the middle of something very stressful - a brief visit during the holidays, the day before an operation - can make the discussion much more stressful and can mean that it will take them longer to work past their initial reaction.

And yes: TELL YOUR DOCTOR THAT YOU'RE TAKING MEDICATION. This is essential. If the operation's going to be to debilitating, and you'll be depending on your parents for help with medications and whatnot, you may have to tell your mother that you're taking some sort of medication, even if you don't explain that it is depression-related.
posted by ubersturm at 7:15 AM on November 27, 2008

A few bits of advice to share with you from first-hand experience. First, give yourself a pat for the back for doing something about how you've been feeling. That was a really courageous step... sadly, a large percentage of people in our society never seek treatment or even admit to themselves that they might need a little help. Second, depression doesn't have anywhere near the stigma it used to have and that's because (among other factors) people talk openly about it today.

That doesn't mean you have to tell everyone about it--the same logic would apply to any other medical condition. Do what feels comfortable to you. But you'll find that people who love you, who care about you and who respect you will take this news not with alarm...but with relief.

One of the biggest lies we all tell ourselves is that the things we assume to be true are viewed that way by others. You might think you've been doing a good job of hiding it, but then again you don't know that to be true because you've not discussed this with your folks. Most parents--especially mothers--know more about their children than they let on, especially as kids progress into adulthood. Last point: no one's to blame for depression. It's not your fault. Nor is it that of your parents. It's just a thing that needs to be managed.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 7:18 AM on November 27, 2008

I think the fact that I'm on an antidepressant just came up in conversation. I don't really remember the precise conversation, but I think we might've been talking about medications in general. I just said something like, "Yeah, my doctor put me on Wellbutrin, and now I feel like I have more energy and am less likely to overeat." Or something like that. No drama.

It might've been ideal just to say the name of the medication when your mom asked you for the surgery form. She asked, you would've answered, and if either of you wanted to continue that dialog, it would've been opened. But, I've been there. Panicked and not told the complete truth to my parents because I didn't want to worry them. If you weren't having surgery and staying with them, it might be a different story. You do have to tell the doctors about it, though.

Antidepressants aren't something you can or should just stop taking. If you want, you can still go the evasive route and say, "Oh yeah, I just thought of something I forgot about that surgery form you filled out."

Of course this is me not really wanting to get into that sort of discussion with my parents, about anything. Your situation may be different.
posted by eldiem at 8:03 AM on November 27, 2008

In contrast to a lot of folks, I strongly encourage you to tell your folks. Given what you describe, it sounds quite likely that they are aware that you've had problems, and I agree with runningdog that they will probably respond with relief. Perhaps with a bit of guilt mixed in for not getting you help while you were younger. I sincerely doubt that they will shun you.

This doesn't mean you have to tell them everything at once. You can tell them that in your desire to be a healthy adult, you went to see a therapist (psychiatrist, GP, whatever), and you're being successfully treated for depression. You don't have to drop the bomb about your suicide attempt right away. Share as much information as you're comfortable with, when you are comfortable doing so.

Indeed, depression really is no BFD, particularly when broached well. I've never had a friend shun me. I really think this is a result of the way I talk about it. Starting off with breezy comments that indicate that you aren't ashamed ("Days like this make me so glad for my celexa") will get you a much better response than melodramatic one-on-one heartfelt conversations. It will make it easier for your friends to support you during the rough patches, and to understand that you are okay, that you are taking care of yourself, and that having this new knowledge of you doesn't change who you are or how you interact with them. When you make it a big melodramatic omfg confession, people are backing away from the drama, not the information.

Finally, I just want to say that I could not disagree more strongly with fleacircus. I have always found that shining a light on the demon inside was the best way to make it shrivel up and die. Hiding the demon? That just makes me shrivel up and die. And in treating my depression, I decided to choose me over the demon.

(And yes, make sure that your doctors are well informed about your medications prior to the surgery).
posted by amelioration at 8:05 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was shocked to read the comments here about people pulling away when they learned about someone's depression. Maybe it's because I live in New York and in my circles, it seems like there are more people on meds than off and cocktail conversation often includes discussion of one's therapist-- but wow, there are some really crappy people out there.

I have never had anything like that happen-- and I've been out about being not only depressed, but a former IV drug addict, which is much more stigmatized (and I mean out: on Oprah and in NY Times out!) for 20 years now. Maybe I've self-selected people that way-- but none of my old friends dropped me, either. They were just glad I got help.

I would certainly tell your parents if you have any kind of relationship with them at all or want to continue to do so. Think how hurt they may feel by you hiding it, for one. Unless they are abusive and this is part of the cause of the depression, I can't imagine them reacting with anything but compassion and a desire to help and yeah, perhaps some guilt for not having acted earlier. But unless they are extremely narcissistic, they will be more focused on trying to help you than on trying to have you assuage their pain.

And yes, I use the brain/body thing all the time: all of us suffer things like the flu and colds, heart disease is incredibly common as is cancer sadly. the brain is the most complex object in the known universe. why wouldn't mental illness be at least as common as physical, if not more so? This is why it pisses me off when people say we are "over medicated" as a society. Over-medicated compared to what? Mental illness *is* present in at least one in five people at some point in life. And so when effective treatments become available, we take them!
posted by Maias at 8:40 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

From an emotional standpoint, I can't help you -- I have no idea.

What worries me however, is that:
(1) The medical staff most definitely needs to know all your medications before your surgery. This is a huge, huge thing. You must let them know.
(2) If you decide not to tell your parents, you're going to be hiding the meds from them during your recuperation. Or at least lying to them about what they're for. How out of sorts are you going to be after the operation -- is sneaking your pills going to be hard? If the options are not telling your parents vs not taking your meds, my vote is to make sure you take your meds!
posted by cgg at 9:48 AM on November 27, 2008

As others have sagaciously counseled, disclose your medication(s) to your surgeon and anesthesiologist stat.

SSRI's commonly prescribed for depression can have potentially dangerous interactions with other frequently-prescribed medications. Additionally, they are sometimes administered to patients prior to surgery, so failure to report your current usage could result in over-medication or adverse interactions.

As for The Talk with mère and père, there's no One-Size-Fits-All correct answer. If your parents are nurturing and understanding, this talk will go well. But if they are neurotic, controlling, perfectionist, anti-pharmaceuticals, anti-therapy, or just plain daft, you may want to refrain from full disclosure, and instead opt to simply reveal that you need medication for a condition under treatment at this time.
posted by terranova at 11:08 AM on November 27, 2008

in 30 million years i would never tell my parents the specifics of my depression and therapy or that i was even in therapy. they would see it as an indictment of their parenting skills, and my father would do what he always does in these types of situations, which is ask the most hurtful, penetrating, hyper-critical, insensitive questions about it.

i don't get empathy from anyone in my family except two siblings. so i don't ask for it or expect it. it's far more hurtful when in the past i've gone there hat in hand and asked for help and didn't get it than it is for me to accept that they can't deal and that's not where i go to get support. (i've been in therapy for that, too.)

i am a person who has friendships she cannot believe. there is no such thing as "too much". i try to spread it out but unlike my family, my friends are the ones who have always been there. i mean, i'm sure my parents are trying and want to help, they just don't know how, i guess.

if you're a grown adult they don't need to know the specifics of your meds. that's your personal business. your doctor MUST know and I don't exactly know why you'd have your mom fill out any forms for you, either, unless you were physically unable to do so.
posted by micawber at 3:09 PM on November 27, 2008

Thanks for all the responses!

The operation is just getting my wisdom teeth out, I don't expect it to be a big deal but I hadn't really thought about the anaesthetic. Mom has the forms because I'm travelling with no address at the moment, so can't receive them in time to get them back to the doctor.

I think they will deal with it pretty well (mostly based on their behaviour when a friend's kid killed herself). I just hate telling people things and having important conversations. I wish I had just mentioned it when it came up, but too late now. I think I will go with the 'oh yea, I'm on another medication you'll have to put on the form' approach.

*grits teeth*
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:51 PM on November 27, 2008

What about saying that you have been diagnosed with a chemical imbalance and that you feel much better now that you are taking medications to correct it? This is most fortunate since one side effect/symptom of this chemical imbalance was to cause depression, and that you have suffered from it for a long time.

Stop gritting your teeth, it will wear down the enamel! ;-)
posted by aroberge at 6:23 PM on November 27, 2008

I did not tell my parents until after I got over the brunt of my depression, because my parents are not equipped to deal with things like this, as good as they have been to me. I was never on meds, but an indication that you are at that stage would be getting off the meds by exploring the root causes of your depression, figuring out what you can do about those problems, and then doing those things until you're feeling better (some might suggest therapy, but you can DIY too). Taking meds is not a cure, it's a temporary stop gap to prevent erratic behavior, as I'm sure you've been lectured about. YMMV.
posted by symbollocks at 8:33 PM on November 27, 2008

Taking meds is not a cure, it's a temporary stop gap to prevent erratic behavior, as I'm sure you've been lectured about.

Sigh. For some people, perhaps including you, this is true; for others, meds may be a long term thing - even when accompanied by therapy, etc. Many people aren't able to "get over the brunt of [their] depression", because for them, it is a chronic, lifelong disorder that doesn't necessarily have "root causes" other than bad luck in the genetic lottery. We don't know much about the agents of KAOS's situation, so implying that they need to wait to talk to their parents [or anyone else] until they are "better" isn't necessarily helpful.
posted by ubersturm at 9:10 PM on November 27, 2008

Well, that didn't go so badly - I used my best 'oh yea, there's this unimportant detail I forgot that doesn't need discussion' tone and then segued on to christmas presents, and she followed my lead.

As far as the therapy goes - I've tried it, with a couple of people, and so far haven't come up with any underlying issues. My psychiatrist and I are now inclined to the opinion that it is indeed a random chemical thing in my case, and I'm happy to keep taking them forever if necessary, obviously with continued medical supervision. thanks ubersturm.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:27 PM on November 27, 2008

Who you tell about personal medical conditions is entirely up to you, but you should at least tell the doctor for safety.

I was still living at home when I had my first serious period of depression, and my parents were around for both my behavior and the start of the process of medication. Things did not go well and I eventually ended up in another city. At one point they both made offhand remarks about how they were happy it was all over, and that sort of set me off about correcting their views. My father handles it mostly OK, but feels guilt about some possible genetic responsibility. My mother has taken the approach of 'let us never speak of this again'.

For me, setting the record straight that it will always be something I deal with was important to me. It is a huge factor in my life, but it is only a component of who I am. It does not define me. Acknowledging the good and the bad that comes from my depression was important for my peace of mind. Letting my family know was more about helping them understand why my mistakes and failures may be a bit different than normal.
posted by joelr at 11:53 PM on November 27, 2008

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